Speed matters: Managing innovation in the energy sector by building shared understanding in the face of multiple clockspeeds

Melanie Kreye, Eva Sass Lauritsen, Philip J. Cash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Innovating for the green transition is increasingly important and energy producers and distributors play a central role, as they integrate rapidly emerging, new and more sustainable technologies into the much slower-changing energy system. However, there has been surprisingly little research on how differing temporal perspectives (or clockspeeds) impact innovation, particularly in traditionally slow sectors, such as the energy sector. This is linked to key questions in how to improve shared understanding in contexts with multiple clockspeeds. Thus, we—for the first time—examine how shared understanding of differing clockspeeds can be developed in innovation teams in the energy sector. We conducted a quasi-experiment using a timeline-based intervention with 38 practitioners. Our results show that teams with the timeline developed greater actual shared understanding, but did not necessarily perceive this improvement compared with teams using generic innovation support. Further, despite working with a timeline intervention, rather than traditional creativity tools, we found no negative impact on the creative performance of the teams. Therefore, we substantially add to the extant literature by highlighting the potentially important role of timelines in supporting the development of shared understanding in creative-innovation contexts with diverse clockspeeds, even though such interventions are not typical of creative-innovation tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1629-1641
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2023


  • Clockspeed
  • shared understanding
  • creativity
  • energy
  • innovation

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